On Tuesday night I went to see a preview performance of the Broadway transfer of Steppenwolf’s, “This Is Our Youth,” by Kenneth Lonergan. I was extremely excited because I remember really enjoying reading the play in college and I adore both Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin. I didn’t actually remember what the play was about, and I didn’t know whether or not Michael Cera could actually act onstage, but I had high hopes going into the show.
This Is Our Youth is about affluent youth living on the Upper West Side in the early 80’s, trying to figure out their next steps in life, deciding whether or not to continue using various drugs, and attempting to be independent from their parents. After one of their friends, and primary dealers, dies during the night, they contemplate what they’re doing with their youth and if THIS is how they want to remember it.
Michael Cera, as Warren, was great onstage. He did what he does best: lanky, socially-awkward teenager. My favorite was Kieran Culkin though. I’ve seen him onstage a few times previously and he’d always been good, but he just rocked it as Darren. He spouted off line after line with such ease and his comedic timing for darkly humorous lines was perfect. His physical comedy was also natural. Rounding out the small cast was Tevi Gevinson as Cera’s love interest Jessica. Gevinson, I believe, is just out of high school and doing this in her gap year between high school and college. She was perfectly awkward and nervous as Jessica.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this production. I’m also someone who has a soft spot for plays about entitled kids bitching endlessly (ala Suburbia, etc.). This play will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was definitely mine and I highly recommend it.